“We are all responsible”. That is the motto with which Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, launched the EU’s platform on animal welfare, of which he is a staunch advocate, at the inaugural meeting that took place on 6 June at the European Commission in Brussels.
The platform has 75 industry operator members, as follows: 35 representing States and international organizations (the World Organization for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the European Food Safety Authority, etc.), 20 industry organizations, 10 independent experts and 10 civil society organizations (including Slow Food). For the first time all the EU’s main stakeholders met to exchange experiences and to help improve animal welfare.
As revealed by the Eurobarometer survey published in 2016, over 90% of European citizens believe animal welfare is important and hope that ways can be found to improve it.
The indications from consumers, then, are clear and, as emphasized by Mr Andriukaitis, who chaired the day of work, “the aim of the platform is to promote dialog among the various stakeholders on animal welfare issues (…), focusing attention on the better application of EU legislation on animal welfare, the promotion of very high animal welfare standards and facilitating the development and use of voluntary commitments by businesses.”
The platform will meet twice a year and will have the objective of strengthening dialog among all parties involved in guaranteeing animal welfare, and helping the Commission towards better application of EU rules by means of exchanging information and best practices.
“We’ve been given a great opportunity by the European Commission,” says Jacopo Ghione, Slow Food representative within the platform, “to present the association’s initiatives on animal welfare, as well as our ongoing commitment with our network. It is also an important chance to give a voice to small-scale livestock breeders and farmers who struggle to be heard in European legislative processes and who often suffer from one-size-fits-all rules for the food industry, despite problems and needs being very diverse. Our job will be to try to represent them in the best way possible.”
Further information is available at: http://www.animalwelfareplatform.eu/
Click here to read the Slow Food position paper on animal welfare.